They started with Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer snuggled under a thick corded blanket sitting on opposite sides of the couch with Clover resting in her bed near the tree and the fireplace ablaze sipping on a fresh batch of hot cocoa. The bowl of buttery popcorn that claimed the spot between Savoy and Hudson quickly emptied once they started watching The Little Drummer Boy. Once Hudson’s fingertips hit the bottom of the bowl and only received salt in return he moved the bowl to the coffee table. Then a strange thing happened when they began watching A Charlie Brown Christmas; the space between them disappeared. They sat shoulder to shoulder with heavy eyes. Neither one of them wanted to raise the white flag of defeat to sleep.
“Favorite Christmas movie?” Savoy asked, yawning out the last word. A round of questions was their last round of defense to stay awake.
Hudson didn’t have to like much but he did have to wait until his yawn, which Savoy infected him with, ended. “Friday After Next.”
“What?” She squinted at him. “That’s not a Christmas movie.”
He nodded confidently. “It’s in December and there’s a Santa Claus.”
“A cat burglarizing one.” She laughed remembering the movie she and her brother watched without their parents’ permission.
“Santa can come in many forms.” He smirked then glanced over at Clover running in her sleep. He chuckled, took a quick glance at the woman almost laying on his shoulder then turned back to the mounted TV screen. “What’s yours?”
Savoy snuggled on the blanket with her toes nice and warm in her fuzzy socks, “The Polar Express. It came out when I was in high school but it gave me tingles.” She smiled brightly.
A smile that called Hudson’s eyes to her making his mouth quirked to one side. She could feel the heat of his gaze upon her cheek. She fought the strong urge to look at him. Match her eyes with his and get lost in his brown sugar irises. It was a sweet treat she couldn’t get enough of. Not only was she beginning to love the way he looked but she was starting to fall for the way he looked at her; like she was the most important person on earth. The thought made her heart beat a bit faster.
“What was your favorite Christmas present?” He asked calling her from her thoughts.
“Hmm.” Savoy thought back on all the gifts she got over the years until one stood out. “A pogo stick.” She smiled remembering the orange and yellow toy she discovered under green and white wrapping paper. “I saw this movie, Tremors, with my uncle and I fell in love with this girl that had one so I begged my mom for one. She said it was too dangerous but my dad convinced her. I had to wear a helmet and knee pads but I bounced all over my neighborhood that day.”
A pop cracked from the fireplace snatching both of their attention and when they both realized that it was just the wood snapping in half she asked, “What about you?”
“Uh…” He shrugged keeping his sight trained on the TV as Charlie Brown talked to Snoopy. “Getting adopted.”
His answer garnered her full attention and her gaze. He gave her a smile reading joy on her face then continued, “I was eighteen about to be released from the system and head off to college; my boss…who I was very close with convinced me that we should be family legally since we already acted as such.”
“You said…was,” Savoy stated fullying entranced in his words.
He nodded. “She passed away.” He took a deep breath as if to settle his emotions. “Old age. She told me I was the child she wished she had earlier.” He smiled and she pulled her hand from underneath the blanket and matched it with his. “She said I made her happy which made me happy.”
“That’s beautiful, Hudson.” She whispered as he held her hand a little tighter. She wanted to ask him more questions. He was fascinating and she wanted to know more about him. But now wasn’t the time to dig deeper into his past even though she didn’t know when she’d ever had another time too. Maybe she’d been swept up in a blizzard next year and found her way to his bakery.
“She was beautiful.” He said letting his eyes move to their linked hands. “She reminds me of you. She wasn’t fond of the snow, which was the reason we met.” He laughed as if a funny memory played in his mind. “I started a snow shoveling business at fifteen because I wanted some Jordans. I started off clearing her driveway and sidewalk than when the snow melted she hired me to tidy up her bakery.”
“Is she the reason you learned to bake?” She asked.
“She taught me everything I know.” He nodded fondly remembering those lessons she gave him before the bakery opened. “I inherited the bakery after she passed and her name, too. She was a Snow and I’m a Snow.”
I want to be a Snow. The words streamed together in Savoy’s mind before she could suppress them.
He let out a deep breath then asked. “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?”
“Umm.” Savoy sounded as she yawned growing weak to the power of her sleep. Her eyes were tired and her eyelid grew heavier. As her head fell to his shoulder she forgot to keep up pretenses and gave him complete honesty. “Today with you.”
He glimpsed at her head resting on his shoulder and said, “Mine too.”
Hudson placed his head on hers and they drifted into slumber as the fire roared and the snow began to fall. The only movements in the house were the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and the easy rise and fall of their chests.